NI children’s author Yvonne Fleming helps raise environmental awareness in schools in English and Irish with help from The Weatherbies

The partnership is the first of its kind in the UK and Ireland and will provide Early Years, Foundation and Key Stage 1 pupils the opportunity to learn about climate change through animation and the song of The Weatherbies children’s stories and characters.

Teachers and students will have access to online learning resources produced by Twinkl, which will be available in English and Irish.

The Weatherbies are a community-based collection of stories of lovable weather-themed characters, including Sammy Sun, Rosie Rainbow, Colin Cloud, Flo Snow, Ronny Rain, Willy Wind and many more, designed to entertain , excite and educate children, with a striking visual. visuals, captivating original music and intuitive storytelling.

Yvonne Fleming (The Weatherbies Author) with pupils from St Brigid’s Primary School, Maghera

The characters encourage and appreciate both recycling, healthy eating, growing fruits and vegetables, reading books, using renewable energies, such as solar and wind energy.

The concept aims to inspire children to look up to the sky, to see and feel time as a friend, a friend who can both nurture and be nurtured.

The partnership with Eco-schools and Twinkl will encourage children to be more aware of climate change and how we can all play our own part in protecting the world around us.

Yvonne, an experienced childminder, created The Weatherbies in 2009.

LR Amy McClements (Twinkl), Susan Ferguson (Twinkl), Yvonne Fleming (The Weatherbies Author), Charlene McKeown (Eco-Schools)

She said: “I am delighted to be associated with Eco-Schools and Twinkl, I think it is a great opportunity to work with them to help educate children about environmental awareness, something we we all think it is so important to teach children.

“When we started working with Eco-Schools I was delighted to hear that they thought The Weatherbies was the perfect solution to help bring fun lessons to children, and with the great work of Twinkl, I think these lessons will be really engaging for the children and help them better understand the world around them. I look forward to seeing what the future holds with our partnership as we continue to educate children about the way to take care of our environment and make a difference.

“It’s great to have finally achieved one of my long-held goals, to have my books translated into Irish. When I went around primary schools, I was often asked if I would translate my books, and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I am really delighted that we are able to develop both our online content and the Twinkl teaching resources in Irish alongside the English versions.

Yvonne and her husband Peter have two children – Steven, 22, and Shane, 18.

The Maghera woman ran a hairdressing and beauty salon, then became a childminder after having her two boys.

She said: “When I started this at the time, I thought I would make a little book for my boys. To have the books now incorporated into schools to teach very important subjects to children is simply unreal Watching Twinkl’s resources grow around the characters and stories blew my mind.

Charlene McKeown, Eco-Schools Manager at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said: “We are all huge fans of The Weatherbies books, and it is with great enthusiasm that we enter into this partnership at the start of a new school year. Intertwining with our already thriving relationship with Twinkl, the partnership will ensure that fantastic educational literature is accompanied by brilliant teaching and learning materials, to give schools much-needed resources to teach climate change awareness at a higher level. appropriate for our younger learners.

Susan Ferguson of Twinkl commented, “At Twinkl, we believe in supporting educators and helping those who teach. With these fantastic resources, we will provide essential materials for teachers across the country, enabling them to promote environmental awareness among their young learners.

“We believe that with The Weatherbies resources at their fingertips, teachers will feel empowered. They will have the confidence to tackle difficult topics about climate change in their classrooms. We are very happy to see these resources used. and see how beneficial they are for our young learners.”

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NI children’s author could make his TV dream come true thanks to climate change stories

The Weatherbies are a collection of children’s stories based on a community of adorable weather-themed characters, each with their own stories and personalities. Weatherbies entertain, excite and educate children. It’s a community of friends who enjoy recycling, eating healthy, growing fruits and vegetables, reading books, using solar and wind power, as well as helping, playing and sharing with others on their adventures around of “Skytown”.

Over the years, their creator, Yvonne Fleming, has spent time visiting schools and nurseries, speaking directly to pupils and teachers.

After being encouraged by the positive reaction to her characters by children and their teachers and parents, her company went on to develop a television series based on the Weatherbies characters and their stories.

Recently, the company signed a TV distribution deal with Hemisphere Distribution in December 2021 and hired Peter Rabbit screenwriter Jodi Reynolds to work on the pilot.

In November 2021, they launched their Digital First strategy to make The Weatherbies more accessible to a wider international audience by creating online content like animated videos, songs, graphic designs, and animated book readings.

Lola R. McClure